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The Lonesome Gods Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews


"Riveting reading." —The New Yorker.

"This is L'Amour's finest book." —California Magazine

From the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The Lonesome Gods is Louis L'Amour's biggest and most important historical novel to date, a sweeping adventure of the California frontier. Here is the fascinating story of Johannes Verne, a young man left to die by his vengeful grandfather, rescued by outlaws and raised in part by the Indians of the desert. Strengthened by the love of two women -- Miss Nesselrode, whose mysterious past fires her ambitions for the future and Meghan, a willful young beauty -- Verne grows to become a rugged adventurer, a man strong enough to embrace the awesome power of the Palm Springs desert, and bold enough to stake a claim in the bustling world of opportunity that was early-day Los Angeles.

"Riveting reading." -- The New Yorker.

"This is L'Amour's finest book." -- California Magazine --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307737586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307737588
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"I think of myself in the oral tradition--as a troubadour, a village tale-teller, the man in the shadows of a campfire. That's the way I'd like to be remembered--as a storyteller. A good storyteller."

It is doubtful that any author could be as at home in the world re-created in his novels as Louis Dearborn L'Amour. Not only could he physically fill the boots of the rugged characters he wrote about, but he literally "walked the land my characters walk." His personal experiences as well as his lifelong devotion to historical research combined to give Mr. L'Amour the unique knowledge and understanding of people, events, and the challenge of the American frontier that became the hallmarks of his popularity.

Of French-Irish descent, Mr. L'Amour could trace his own in North America back to the early 1600s and follow their steady progression westward, "always on the frontier." As a boy growing up in Jamestown, North Dakota, he absorbed all he could about his family's frontier heritage, including the story of his great-grandfather who was scalped by Sioux warriors.

Spurred by an eager curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons, Mr. L'Amour left home at the age of fifteen and enjoyed a wide variety of jobs, including seaman, lumberjack, elephant handler, skinner of dead cattle, and miner, and was an officer in the transportation corps during World War II. During his "yondering" days he also circled the world on a freighter, sailed a dhow on the Red Sea, was shipwrecked in the West Indies and stranded in the Mojave Desert. He won fifty-one of fifty-nine fights as a professional boxer and worked as a journalist and lecturer. He was a voracious reader and collector of rare books. His personal library contained 17,000 volumes.

Mr. L'Amour "wanted to write almost from the time I could talk." After developing a widespread following for his many frontiers and adventure stories written for fiction magazines, Mr. L'Amour published his first full length novel, Hondo, in the United States in 1953. Every one of his more than 120 books is in print; there are more than 300 million copies of his books in print worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors in modern literary history. His books have been translated into twenty languages, and more than forty-five of his novels and stories have been made into feature films and television movies.

The recipient of many great honor and awards, in 1983 Mr. L'Amour became the first novelist to ever to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress in honor of his life's work. In 1984 he was also awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.

Louis L'Amour died on June 10, 1988. His wife, Kathy, and their two children, Beau and Angelique, carry the L'Amour publishing tradition forward with new books written by the author during his lifetime to be published by Bantam.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
I love fiction books that include factual, historical data that teach you about California, as you read. Louis L'Amour is a master story teller. He captures your imagination with his courageous, but human, characters (male & female alike). I couldn't put this book down and was disappointed when it ended. It touched me in a way that caused me to look harder at myself, as a person. It encouraged me to say to myself, "I am a child of God and nothing will cause me to be afraid." -- I'm a tougher, better person because of this book. Read it and let it move you, too!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Stuart on October 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
You could review this book critically detail by detail, but in the end this is classic L'Amour. I don't believe he ever wrote a bad book. No, I'm sure he never did. Some of the books are similar, some are vastly different. He proved himself able to write more than "just westerns". Louis' depth is seen in books like Last of the Breed, The Walking Drum, and Hills of Homicide.
The book is interesting in that the lead role, Johannes Verne, is without full time adult supervision from a very young age and with the help of friendly indians must provide for himself. From my recollection this is the youngest character of L'Amour's to "go it alone". In this way, this book is similar to Reilly's Luck ( another youngster alone).
This book seems to take a look at eternal things. There is mention of God and the story line is developed along the idea that many gods have existed through time. Men come and go and their gods are left behind with no one remembering who they are or what purpose they served. Unlike God, they are lonesome and left with no followers or those that look after their shrines. Johannes Verne identifies with them out of pity for there lonliness.
Although somewhat predictable, I say "who cares". L'Amour's work is excellent. The reasons we love it are the imagery, storytelling, and the close bond we feel with the characters.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Keith Vaglienti on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of Louis L'amour but, ultimately, I found "The Lonesome Gods" to be a rather mediocre effort. It suffers from an excess of historical data which, while interesting, doesn't really serve to advance the plot, weak character development, and an ending that's just a little too pat.
The story moves along at a good pace at first with the tale of how Johannes Verne's dying father brought him west in the hopes that his estranged grandfather would take the boy in once his father passed on. However, once Johannes reach Los Angeles the story slows down considerably. At this point not a lot is happening with his characters so L'amour glosses over the passage of large spans of time and spends a great deal of time presenting historical information about the early years of the city but most of it isn't really relevant to the story. The result is that the story becomes bogged down in useless data that doesn't do anything to advance the plot. Making matters worse, I found his handling of the passage of time to be somewhat disorienting and on more than one occasion I found myself wondering if it had just been a few days or a few years since something had happened in the story.
Usually I feel that L'amour is pretty good about developing his characters within the constraints allowed by his stories. Unfortunately that's not the case here. The only character to really feel fully fleshed out is Johannes, though the elder Verne and Miss Nesselrode are also fairly well presented. Everyone else is just sort of presented in a peripheral manner and never really achieve a status above stock character types.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bill Slocum VINE VOICE on November 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Just looking at its spine, you can see "The Lonesome Gods" is one of prolific Western author Louis L'Amour's more ambitious works. You could fit three "Guns Of The Timberlands" in its 450 pages, with room for a few "Yondering" short stories. L'Amour chooses a broad canvas for himself, dusty southern California before the Civil War, and creates a hero who makes his way among vaqueros, Cahuillas, and the ghosts of those long gone still lingering amid the cholla and chaparral.

It's not a great book but a good one, pleasant company despite a plot full of wooden dialogue, encyclopedic exposition, and characters that seem to parachute in from other novels. In her review below, Julie Marie Healy notes how the hero, Johannes Verne, is way too self-sufficient to be plausible, and that's true, especially since he's only a teenager by the end.

But L'Amour produces a real page-turner, with a sense of significance and mystical sweep above and beyond the many satisfying action scenes. It's not a slow book at all. L'Amour shows off why he was considered such a fine storyteller; keeping a number of plot plates spinning at once. His masterly ability to write of nature is especially strong here, describing a then-merciless part of the country better known today for hosting the Bob Hope golf tournament.

"In the night that followed, she wondered if he was out on the dark trails of night where owls cruised on silent wings among the dark ranks of the soldier pines, and only the wind for company." Okay, writing that out I can see the man used "night" and "dark" twice in one sentence, but that's a sweet sentence still, and there's more where that came from in "The Lonesome Gods.
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